Extreme events and their impacts on urban areas

Authored by: Andrea Ferraz Young

The Routledge Handbook of Urbanization and Global Environmental Change

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415732260
eBook ISBN: 9781315849256
Adobe ISBN: 9781317909323


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The climate system, which is influenced by land use/land cover, oceans and water bodies, the atmosphere, cryosphere and biosphere (Pielke Sr. et al., 2002), affects physical and biological systems on all continents and in most oceans. Urban areas, especially in developing countries, are particularly vulnerable to frequent climate variability and associated extreme events (Castán and Bulkeley, 2013; Hunt and Watkiss, 2011; Romero-Lankao and Dodman, 2011; Rosenzweig et al., 2011b). Recent high-impact weather events have lead researchers to question whether their frequency and intensity have changed and will continue to change over time (Zwiers et al., 2012). Projections reveal that it is very likely that effects of atmospheric pollution (i.e. disease) (Yuming et al., 2009) as well as extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, warm spells and extreme heat, drought, intense storm surges and sea level rise will increase in frequency, intensity and duration as a result of climate change (Rosenzweig et al., 2011b; Hunt and Watkiss, 2011; Romero-Lankao and Dodman, 2011; IPCC, 2014).

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